Clark Fork School, Missoula  Kindergarten student in Art Class Clark Fork School, private K-4, Missoula, Kids

The Clark Fork School Staff

Administrative Staff

MARCIA BROWNLEE, Executive Director

Marcia grew up in Michigan exploring corn fields, sand dunes, wildflowers, and tadpoles. She moved to Missoula in 2009 when she began teaching preschool at Clark Fork School. Marcia has been our Executive Director since October 2012. She has a Master's Degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education in Learning and Teaching and a Bachelor's Degree from Michigan State University in East Asain Languages and Cultures. In her current position she is able to combine her experience in the classroom with her extensive experience in working with teachers from all walks of life as mentor and advisor and her experience attending to the diverse needs of a non-profit organization: marketing, event planning, fundraising... When not working, Marcia can typically be found hiking, cross country skiing, star gazing, fly fishing or reading.



KRIS LITZ, Head of Curriculum and Instruction

As a Missoula native, Kris is extremely passionate about helping others build a resilient bond with Planet Earth and community. She has a Master’s Degree in Adventure Education from Prescott College, with a focus on place-based and environmental education. Kris has taught students in both traditional and outdoor settings, with much of her expertise focusing on ecology, service-learning, and curriculum development. She loves exploring the outdoors with youth and loves teaching teachers how to help students connect to the world around them. Kris can often be found in the mountains and rivers around Missoula with her husband, their amazing baby girl,and their two dogs.

Calida Davis


CALIDA DAVIS,  Kinnikinnick 1st Grade Teacher and Head of Facilities and Marketing

Calida is originally from the rolling farmlands of Pennsylvania, but since moving to Montana in 2012, has fallen completely in love with the mountains and rivers of the west. She obtained her degree in Psychology and English from Millersville University, and spent some time teaching children in the United Kingdom and Uganda before working for Missoula Children’s Theatre. While touring with MCT she was lucky enough to travel to almost every state as well as tour internationally all over Europe. Calida finally decided to trade in her suitcase for a garden and has been exploring the outdoors of Montana with kids ever since. She was excited to discover Clark Fork School last year and is even more thrilled to be working not only with kids but also in this new capacity as Assistant Director. When not at Clark Fork, Calida can be found hiking the hills with her dog, hanging out in her hammock talking to her chickens, or reading a book by the river.

 STEPHANIE FISHER, Energy and Sustainability Educator

 Stephanie grew up in the Appalachian mountains of rural Western North Carolina.  She completed an Elementary Education degree at Appalachian State University in 2009 and arrived to Missoula in 2013.  Stephanie began a teaching career focused on K-2 reading remediation. She then traveled to Italy for an exciting summer teaching English. In 2010 she returned to North Carolina and taught a variety of subjects for 5th and 6th grade students. Since moving to Missoula Stephanie has enjoyed new work experience teaching preschoolers. Exploring curiosity, mindfulness, creativity, and connection to the natural world has inspired her recent work. When not exploring a river, reaching for lofty ridgelines, or making signature snow angels, you can find her pedaling along one of Missoula's many trails.

 Teaching Staff


 

 


LISA LANG, Chickadee Classroom

Lisa grew up in Minnesota and lived in North Carolina  for a few years before moving to Missoula in 2007.  Lisa graduated from the University of Montana with a BA in Elementary Education with a concentration in science.  Before working at CFS, Lisa worked at Watson Children's Shelter and substitute taught at schools across Missoula.  She and her husband Mitchell welcomed their first child, Abigail Grace Lang, on September 2nd, 2013.  Lisa enjoys watching Abigail grow, reading, sewing, biking, traveling, learning the ukulele and much more.  She can often be found hiking with her beagles Fayt and Murphy or exploring all that the Western US has to offer with her husband and daughter.  She has been at CFS since 2012.  Lisa is currently pursuing a master's degree in Early Childhood Education.  


 

NANCY MILLS, Meadowlark Classroom

Growing up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Nancy developed an appreciation of art and attended the Corcoran School of Art. Her love of the outdoors and animals was enhanced by exploring forests, Atlantic beaches and her own back yard. After spending a week at a farm in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains,  seeds were planted to someday live in the mountainous region. So, she left the east coast to go to college at the University of Boulder in Colorado where she eventually began teaching preschool. As a childcare professional, while raising two daughters, Nancy came to trust the intrinsic curiosity of young minds to follow their learning passions while engaged in play, especially in natural settings. In recent years, she has pursued university studies in fine arts and has, additionally, attended over 200 hours of professional development training. As a volunteer, she has worked promoting healing through the arts with cancer patients. Furthermore, practicing yoga and sharing her practice with children has been a source of joy for Nancy.

 Sarah Clark SARAH CLARK, Chickadee Classroom

Growing up in a rural community outside of Missoula Sarah spent her time exploring Montana’s mountains, hunting, riding horses, and playing in the marsh behind her house.  Recently, she received her Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Resource Conservation.  She hopes to acquire a Master’s Degree in Environmental Education in the near future.  Sarah’s passion for teaching children about nature was inspired by the time she spent with her nieces and nephews.  Outside of her studies and her time spent at the Clark Fork School, Sarah enjoys spending quality time with her husband, reading, foraging for wild foods, and exploring and camping in the great outdoors.

 

KETURAH HUISKEN, Explorer Classroom

 Keturah has roots all over, including Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, and South Dakota, but found her true home in Missoula with  her husband, Dylan, in 2011. She received her degree from Illinois State University in Elementary Education and has taught  at all levels ranging from pre-school to high school. She enjoys new challenges and learning opportunities immensely. The  outdoors have been a vital part of her life since camping and hiking trips with her family as a young child, and they  continue to be in Missoula as she explores and falls in love with her place more and more. She has recently completed the  year-long, place-based program Forest For Every Classroom, and has enjoyed deepening her understanding of bringing a  sense of place alive for her students! She also enjoys biking, backpacking, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, gardening,  hanging out on the river, reading, crafting, traveling and being entertained by her two cats, Star and River, and four  chickens: Frieda, Regina, Pearl, and Stella. She also enjoys hanging with her new baby boy, Rylan!

 

DANIELLE BAILEY, Steller's Jay Classroom

Danielle grew up in Southern Oregon camping, fishing, and playing in the mud. She moved to Corvallis, Oregon and enjoyed being closer to the ocean while getting her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. She has her master's degree in Teaching from Willamette University with a focus on Elementary Education. Danielle moved to Missoula in 2009 having never been to Montana before. She has enjoyed exploring the area and learning about Missoula’s natural flora and fauna. Danielle has been teaching with Missoula County Public Schools since arriving in Missoula and is looking forward to getting back to her roots of learning alongside young children. In her free time, she can be found reading, picnicking, and going on long walks with her beautiful baby girl and husband. 



PAIGE VIERA, Steller's Jay Classroom

Paige grew up experiencing the natural beauties found in her native Montana as well as California and Washington. Working in varying educational settings and age groups over the past decade has given her a love for lifelong learning and a greater scope for the development of a child from toddler to teenager and beyond. Paige was encouraged early on to travel and took her classroom from the local arena to greater explorations, learning about global villages and people around the world.  Studying French and History she graduated from the University of Montana with a B.A in Liberal Studies.  Combining her joy of travel, art and education Paige began personal and professional studies in Rudolf Steiner pedagogy and training in Waldorf elementary schools both in California and Holland.  Focused on learning and sharing knowledge on creative holistic teaching in practical ways she traveled to England in 2014 to live and work in an intentional Camphill community with adults with varying mental and physical needs. Returning with greater intent and motivation to make a difference in Missoula and Clark Fork School she delights in teaching, sharing and growing in the amazing community of parents, staff and children!  When not at work she loves all things art related as well as painting, reading, collecting antique and vintage treasures, watching films, photography, and most of all sharing time with family and friends. 



ERIK NELSON, Kinnikinnick Kindergarten Lead Teacher

Erik is originally from Colorado, where he spent a childhood exploring the forest and mountains around his home. Building forts, climbing trees, working in the garden and creating art were the things he valued most as a child and he hopes to provide those same opportunities to children at the Clark Fork School.

Erik has a diverse and broad spectrum of experience with nature and with education:
He has taught english in Costa Rica, studied Marine biology in Sweden, worked as a park ranger, conducted field research on birds in Wyoming and the Dakotas, and is also an Eagle Scout. He spent the last 5 years working at the Teton Science Schools as an environmental educator, biologist and guide. He has a deep love of nature and enjoys sharing teachable moments with learners of all ages.

When not exploring the rattlesnake with kids you can find him bird-watching at the Lee Metcalf  wildlife refuge or picking wild edible plants for dinner. 

 
SHELBY MARSHALL, Meadowlark Classroom

Shelby grew up in Dallas, Texas, a place very different from Montana. As a kid, she always enjoyed riding her bike around the neighborhood, climbing trees, and swimming in the community pool but wasn’t really exposed to adventuring in the wilderness until after graduating from the University of North Carolina and moving west to Missoula in 2013. Since arriving in Montana, Shelby has loved working in outdoor education across the state and exploring all the ways the outdoors can nurture growth and promote curiosity and connection. In this time, she has developed a deep appreciation for the positive influence time spent in nature can have for students of all ages.  She has worked at such nonprofits as the Watershed Education Network in Missoula, the Glacier Institute in Glacier National Park and Flathead National Forest, and Montana Outdoor Science School in Bozeman. In her free time, she has thoroughly enjoyed exploring and experiencing all that Montana has to offer including skiing, climbing, backpacking, hiking, biking, and gardening. She can often be found doing any one of these activities or cooking, dancing, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and partaking in general merriment around town.


 Julie Alcala, Explorer Classroom

Julie grew up in the hills of Southern California being thankful to spend most of her time playing outside, going to the beach, and tagging along on railroad adventures while her father took pictures of trains. Aside from riding her bike throughout the neighborhoods and rock collecting, Julie also spent many of her formative years as a competitive figure skater. It was all of those hours in ice rinks which prepared her for the cold winters in Montana. The mountains have always been calling her name which brought her family here to Missoula four years ago. Julie holds a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies and a Master’s Degree in Educational Supervision and Leadership. She has spent the last thirty years teaching preschool through adult school as well as homeschooling her own children for several years. Julie believes in being a part of the learning process right along with her students. She has had training in the Forestry Institute for Teachers, Life Lab garden based education for the classroom, and participated in an Earth Watch Institute Study on the hillsides of Wales. Julie is excited to be a part of the Clark Fork Staff and to be working with children in such an outstanding learning environment.


 

 Jenna Tomiello, Explorer Theme Studies Teacher & Kids-Niche Lead Teacher

Jenna grew up in the Highlands of New Jersey, spending much of her childhood weekends exploring the forests with her sister as her dad fly fished. She graduated from Ursinus College with a B.A. in Environmental Studies, and fell in love with teaching environmental education during an internship with New Jersey Audubon. After a couple years teaching at Tenafly Nature Center, she ventured out west to U of M, and got her M.S. in Environmental Studies, focusing much of her coursework on integrating environmental education and sustainable agriculture. After graduate school, she moved to the Hudson Valley and worked on farms in different capacities, and ended up at a Earth Literacy focused charter school, teaching Kindergarten and 1st grade. Jenna and her dog Leopold-Zebulon recently made a permanent move to Missoula, to start a life in the mountains hiking, cycling, trail running, backpacking, and exploring. When Jenna's not looking for birds or searching for wildflowers, she's usually drinking coffee, gardening, writing her friends letters, or throwing a stick for Leo.